Is voting an obligation?
In 1629, the first American balloting for an election occurred in Salem, Massachusetts. The issue? Choosing a minister and choosing a Christian teacher for the colony. “Such is the origin of the use of the ballot on this continent; [Samuel] Skelton was chosen pastor and [Francis] Higginson teacher.” So writes George Bancroft, an early American historian, on this first election on American soil in Volume I of his 6-volume, History of the United States of America (1882).
Historian Paul Johnson writes in his 1997 classic, A History of the American People: “In a sense, the clergy were the first elected officials of the new American society, a society which to that extent had a democratic element from the start.”
And Christians in America have been voting ever since.
Founding father Samuel Adams once said, “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote ... that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”
However, there has arisen a feeling among some professing believers that somehow it is spiritual to not participate in something as earthly as politics.
As the late Dr. D. James Kennedy, noted pastor and author, once said: “A Christian said to me, ‘You don’t really believe that Christians should get active in politics do you?’ And I said, with tongue in cheek, ‘Why, of course not, we ought to leave it to the atheists. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have anything to complain about. And we’d really rather complain than do something, wouldn’t we?’”
But today we find ourselves in such a mess in America that the very least Christians could do is vote and vote our biblical values.
Some people have written off elections because they think it’s all rigged. They look at some of the anomalies that have occurred in recent balloting, and they think, “Why should I even bother? My vote won’t count.” Well, if you don’t cast a vote, your potential vote certainly won’t count.
With great understatement, Gary Bauer notes in his End of Day Report, “We know unhinged leftists are not constrained by the basic teachings of Judeo-Christian civilization. They feel justified in doing anything and everything necessary to win.”
But if Christians show up in great numbers, we can overcome the potential for cheating because the Christian conservative voting bloc is huge.
About a decade ago, Alveda King, the niece of MLK, made some interesting observations about Christians and voting in an interview for television.
Alveda told me, “I hear remarks from both sides of the aisle. You know, ‘God’s not a Republican’ and ‘God’s not a Democrat.’ And so, we as God-fearing people don’t need to try to lock in a position to a political party, but certainly our votes must always follow our values.”
One of those values is against abortion and for life. Meanwhile, the left is embracing abortion to the hilt. When we vote biblical values, we obey what the Lord would have us do.
Writing for the Washington Times, Everett Piper, a former president of a Christian college, opines on how far to the left has gone these days because of things like the castration of children and pornography in the schools: “The Democrat party is now so extreme that no serious follower of Christ can align with it. There is no longer any such thing as a ‘Christian Democrat.’”
The aforementioned Dr. Kennedy once declared that it is indeed a sin not to vote. His proof-text was from the passage in the Gospel, where Jesus said that we should render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s (Mark 12:17).
On the issue of voting, he said: “For non-Christian Americans, voting is a privilege and responsibility; for Christians, it is a duty demanded by God that we should fulfill” [Emphasis his].
It has been said that in America, we get the kind of government we deserve.
Historically, Christians in America applied their faith to virtually every sphere of life, including their politics. While the founding fathers were not all Christians, the vast majority of them were, and more importantly, they had a biblical worldview.
So, for example, they divided power, since they knew man is sinful. James Madison, one of the key architects of the Constitution, noted: “All men having power ought to be distrusted.” This is a biblical perspective. Sometimes people complain that the Constitution limits the amount of power any one single branch may have. That was by design.
The only poll that counts is the one you cast at election time. Don’t sit this one out. As the late Bishop Harry Jackson once declared, “Too many people died for the right of all people in the nation to vote.”
Jerry Newcombe, D.Min., is the executive director of the Providence Forum, an outreach of D. James Kennedy Ministries, where Jerry also serves as senior producer and an on-air host. He has written/co-written 33 books, including George Washington’s Sacred Fire (with Providence Forum founder Peter Lillback, Ph.D.) and What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? (with D. James Kennedy, Ph.D.). www.djkm.org? @newcombejerry www.jerrynewcombe.com